Accidents do happen and while most of them occur in the home, there are dangers lurking whenever we step outside too.
What are the most common accidents that people claim for?
Slips, trips, falls and being struck by a falling object (for example a slate falling from a roof) are some of the most common instances of an accident in a public place.
There’s a good reason why walking under a ladder is deemed unlucky, as getting up close to building work can be hazardous. The Health and Safety Executive has special advice for those who work in the construction sector, with regard to protecting the general public: hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis72.pdf
But any kind of outdoor setting can put people in danger, especially if it is not maintained properly. If businesses expect us to work, live and shop in a busy environment, they have a responsibility to protect us from those slip, trip and fall hazards which can result in thousands of heading to casualty each year.
Slips, trips and falls can result in a variety of injuries. From bruises and fractured bones to more severe cases such as serious head injuries occurring when objects fall from a height.
Who is to blame for accidents in public places?
Every public space in the UK is required to meet certain safety standards. Those that are responsible for adhering to them are the appointed institutions such as local authorities, administration, private owners and tenants. Public spaces include areas such as roads, pavements, stairs, as well as catering outlets, shopping centres, hypermarkets and all other public buildings like fitness clubs and gyms.
Accidents in a public place can be anything from a slip or trip on a public pavement to a cut finger in a bar or restaurant. Most accidents are thankfully minor, causing only minimal distress and a short recovery period but some can seriously impact on a person’s life. There can be both physical and psychological harm, as well as the knock-on effects of being hurt such as loss of earnings, and even loss of work.
So, who is to blame?
Well, if someone falls or trips on a pavement on the high street, the local authority is generally to blame as they are responsible to ensure that people can safely get around without having to worry about tripping up.
A personal injury claim made against a local authority tends to fall under their public liability.
Public liability is a type of insurance that covers a person or business in the event that negligence has occurred.
When this happens the local authority will investigate on their side to establish whether there was any negligence on their part. Like other accidents, such as those involving motor vehicles, it is important to try to gather as much evidence as you can to prove that they are responsible, such as photography, and witness statements.
As far as businesses are concerned, there is no precise way to determine when someone else is legally responsible for something on which you slip or trip. This means that it revolves around whether the property owner acted carefully so that slipping or tripping was not likely to happen – and whether you were careless in not seeing or avoiding the thing that caused the accident.
There are other accidents that might happen in a public place, this includes parks and recreational areas. Park equipment which is poorly maintained, broken street furniture can all be claimed for under public liability.
Here are some of the causes of accidents in public places:
- Potholes in paths or roads that have been left unrepaired
- Wobbly paving stones
- Kerbstones that need to be replaced
- Holes in the pavement resulting from the removal of street furniture such as lampposts or benches
- Icy pavements that haven’t been gritted
- Poor street lighting.
How much compensation can you get for accidents in public places?
The compensation awarded for an accident in a public place depends upon whose fault it was and what the medical reports reveal about how this has affected you and your life. Your compensation will be calculated by adding together: General damages – this is for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA), and; Special damages – for any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
If you have had an accident in a public place and are thinking of making a claim we are here for you. For free no obligation advice please follow the link below for our contact details and we will be happy to advise.